A Beginner’s Guide to Basic Cat Care for The New Cat Owner

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Do you have any pets at home? Growing up, we always had dogs and I am very much a dog person. I’ve always felt that dogs truly are man’s best friend for so many reasons. And one of these years, I hope that we can get a dog again. That’s not to say that I don’t like cats, I do. But, because both my mother and I have mild allergies to cat hair, we never had a cat. That all changed six years ago when my ex-husband and I decided that we wanted to adopt a cat. At the time, it was agreed, that the cat would be mostly his responsibility since he wanted the cat more than I did. Little did I know that this cat had other plans. From that point on, it was time for me to get a crash course in basic cat care.

Do you have any pets at home or are you thinking of adopting a cat? Check out this helpful post on basic cat care.

We adopted our cat from a local animal shelter and she was the smallest in a litter of seven kittens that had been found with their mother.

The kittens were all in a separate area from the older cats and while I wanted a black cat, my ex saw the cat who would soon claim us. Aside from being the smallest in her litter, she was also without a tail. That set her apart and my ex asked if we could get to know that cat.

We were taken to a small room and then she was brought in to meet us.

She was so tiny, skittish, and very shy. I sat down on the floor and got out one of the cat toys they left but she still would not budge from her spot underneath the table. She watched me and I watched her, holding out my hand until she finally decided to explore. It took one tiny little head butt to my hand and I knew that she was coming home with us.

We took her home that day.

She was in her cardboard carrying case and sat on my lap the entire car ride and then as we went into our local Petsmart to get the basics.

If we had gone about this differently, I would have had more of a plan in mind.

When you get a cat, you’ll need to think about the costs.

You’ll obviously need food, and you’ll also need to plan ahead for vet costs.  You’ll also need litter, which can tend to get quite expensive as the years go by.  Your cat will need a litter box, food dish, and water dish.  You should also invest in some toys as well, such as a scratching post, cat toys, a pet carrier, and a bed.  You should also look into getting an ID collar as well, just in case your cat ever gets lost.

You may or may not consider getting a cat bad though whether or not your cat uses it will be a different story. We never bothered getting a specific bed for our cat and she made herself pretty comfortable wherever she chose.

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Feeding your pet will depend a great deal on his age.

Older cats require two small meals or one large meal for the day.  Kittens on the other hand, require several feedings a day until they get around the age of 12 weeks.  Cats that are between three and six months of age need to be fed three times a day.

Canned food can be fed to cats, although any food that has been left out longer than 30 minutes need to be disposed of.  Canned food can get expensive fast, and you should always keep in mind that some may need to be thrown away when you buy it.  Cats loved canned food, although it doesn’t have any benefits to their dental health like dry food does.

As an alternative plan, you can always leave a supply of dry food out for your pet.

When you give your cat dry food, you should always make sure that he has enough water.  Dry food costs less than canned food, and it can also help to prevent the buildup of tartar on your cat’s teeth.  When you buy dry food, you should always look in terms of health and benefits, and stay away from generic food.  Even though generic food may be cheaper, it may not offer the nutrients your pet needs.

If you own a kitten, you should only give you kitten food designed for him.  You’ll also need to clean and refill his water dish every day.  Even though kittens and adult cats like cow’s milk, you should avoid giving it to them as it can cause diarrhea.  Treats are fine on occasion, although too many of them can cause your pet to get fat.  Feeding your kitten human food is good on occasion, although you may have to mix it in with his cat food.

Whether you have an indoor or outdoor or mostly indoor cat, be sure to have a variety of toys and things for them to play with and for them to scratch their claws on.

Enrich their environment with simple toys or a cat window box.

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By themselves, cats stay fairly clean.

Although you don’t have to bathe them that often, you’ll need to give them a brushing at least once a day.  Brushing will reduce the risk of hairballs and keep your cat’s coat nice and clean.

If you are keeping your cat indoors, you’ll need to have a litter box in an area that is easy for your cat to access.  You should always scoop it on a daily basis, and clean it out once a week.  Cats don’t like to use dirty litter boxes, they prefer for it to be nice and clean.

Unlike dogs, you more than likely won’t have to give your cat a bath unless circumstances call for it. Our cat got out last summer and came back with fleas. So it was into the tub she went!

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She wasn’t very happy with me after that, but it was necessary to help get rid of the fleas.

Although cats do require some work, they are great pets that will provide you with years and years of companionship.  As long as you take care of your cat and take him to the vet for his checkups, he should remain healthy.

Even though cats can get sick from time to time – knowing how to care for him will make a world of difference.

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Kori

Content Creator at Kori at Home
Kori is an autistic mom who also happens to have ADHD and Anxiety. She is currently located in Albany, NY where she is raising a neurodivergent family. Her older daughter is non-speaking autistic (and also has ADHD and Anxiety) and her youngest daughter is HSP/Gifted. As an empath, HSP, and highly intuitive individual, Kori brings her own life experiences as an autistic woman combined with her adventures in momming to bring you the day-to-day of her life at home. Kori provides life coaching services for neurodivergent women (and those who identify as women) as well as Oracle card reading, Tarot card readings, and energy healing.

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